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Archive for Saturday, August 5, 2000

Recount to nail down House seat

Handful of primary races still undecided

August 5, 2000

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The official canvass of Tuesday's primary election gave seven more votes to Lana Leach in the Democratic race for the 47th Kansas House seat, enough to break her tie with Bruce Hanson.

But Hanson on Friday turned in a written request to the Douglas County Clerk's office asking for a ballot recount by hand. Until that happens the election's results won't be certified.

Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes has approved reviews of 341 ballots from Tuesdays primary. Canvassing boards will meet Friday to rule on the challenged ballots.

After Tuesday's primary, Hanson, of Oskaloosa, and Leach, rural Lawrence, each had 348 votes.

The tie was expected to be broken Friday when canvassing boards in Douglas and Jefferson counties met to rule on challenged ballots.

The 47th House District includes six precincts in Douglas County and 12 in Jefferson County.

Friday, the Douglas and Jefferson County canvassing boards approved 12 challenged ballots in the 47th District. Hanson gained three votes. Leach earned seven. The third candidate, Lisa Whitehair-Carver, received two.

Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes said the ballots were challenged because her office made an error on one; the others questioned a voter's registration, party affiliation or residence.

Because of the requested recount, Jaimes said she will need to form a special recount board, split into two groups of three people each.

"Our goal is, if we can get enough people, to count them next Thursday, August 10," she said.

After the recount, Jaimes said, the canvassing boards will meet again Friday to confirm the results, which the Kansas secretary of state's office needs to receive by 5 p.m. that day.

If Friday's tallies hold, Leach will emerge the winner with 355 votes, leaving Hanson 351.

Jaimes, who is serving a fifth term, said it's not uncommon to have a recount request.

"We've gone through it several times before, but it's never changed the results of the election," she said.

Leach, 58, said she had thought she was in the clear and wouldn't have to worry who won until she heard about the pending recount.

"I got really good support from Eudora and Douglas County," she said. "I received really good numbers in this area."

If Leach is declared the primary election winner, she said she will campaign for the general election, focusing on farm, health and education issues.

Jefferson County Clerk Linda Buttron on Friday afternoon said that Hanson had not requested a recount there but would have until noon Monday to do so. Hanson, 54, could not be reached for comment Friday.

The winner will face Republican Lee Tafanelli in the Nov. 7 general election.

The 47th District House seat was vacated this year by Joann Flower of Oskaloosa, a Republican.

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